LAKE PLACID – It has been widely reported that the pandemic has brought people closer to nature, making the busy season for the bike and boating industries all the busier.
“Our phone is ringing non-stop,” Joe Moore, owner and operator of Lake Placid-based canoe maker Placid Boatworks, told the Press-Republican. “We are fully booked until February for new orders.
“Before COVID, our longest wait time was three weeks.”
Moore blamed the pandemic for the surge in demand.
“I think people had a lot of time to sit down and think – and maybe some extra money to get things too.”
He referenced rising unemployment incomes and thought stimulus checks might have had an impact as well.
Viking Ski ‘N Cycle sales manager John Cwikla said bike sales were also up and also gave some credit to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People want to go out and that’s a way of being outside, of being with people, but you can always keep a distance, if that’s what you choose to do.”
Also, the sport was very “bang for your buck as far as exercise goes”.
“You can cover distances where you see a variety of scenery and it’s not a high body impact sport.”
MADE IN THE CITY
Moore opened his small business on Station Street in 2004.
He joked about the store’s pup Maverick, a nine-and-a-half-year-old chocolate lab, who had run the place for about a decade.
Moore builds pack canoes, which he describes as ultralight open-top kayaks, with the help of employee Scott Cayea and sells them and accessories on site with the help of some part-time employees. partiel.
The boats, of which there are seven models, start at around $3,000 apiece.
“They’re all made of carbon and kevlar. We vacuum infuse, which means all the fabric is dropped into the mold dry, then we put a bag over it all and seal it, then we pull a vacuum, then we put the resin in.”
It’s the same technology used when Placid Boatworks makes toboggan modules for the US Olympic team.
At the start of the pandemic, Moore was working solo until he couldn’t take it anymore.
“The orders just started piling up, so I brought (Cayea) back.”
While some industries were experiencing supply chain issues, Placid Boatworks was fortunately spared.
“There were a few scares here and there, but we managed to get things done.”
Yet, with the increase in demand, supplies have become more expensive.
Moore said resin has been hit the hardest on that front, but said he has “held the line” so far on its pricing.
“But we’ll probably have to increase soon. I continue to get almost daily notices of price increases. With prices going up and availability going down, that’s not a good scenario.”
Viking Ski ‘N Cycle on Route 3 in Plattsburgh is also feeling the heat.
The family business sells ski equipment in the winter, but turns into a cycling center during the summer season, selling bikes and equipment, while running an on-site repair shop.
Cwikla, who has been in the cycling and outdoor sports industry for 25 years, said bike sales over the past 15 to 17 months have “exploded”.
“We can’t keep mountain bikes off the ground,” Cwikla said, noting that road bikes aren’t as popular at the moment. “We’ve reached a point where what we do now is if someone comes to get a bike, if we don’t have it, we’ll take their information and we have a list for every style of bike, every brands – we’ll call people in order when the bike hits the door here and ask them, “Are you still interested or did you find something else?”
“It worked really well for us.”
And when the store receives new deliveries, the bikes are quickly delivered to the door.
“We had three delivered late yesterday afternoon,” the sales manager said Thursday morning. “Two of them are already what we consider pre-sold.”
Cwikla said it wasn’t so much the manufacturers responsible for building the bike frames, but rather those supplying the other parts that were causing the delay.
“If we go to the Shimano (cycling component company) website, they’ll say, ‘This will be available in 2022.'”
This, combined with an increase in cyclists, has bogged down Viking Ski ‘N Cycle’s repair shop.
“If you dropped your bike today, you would see it in about 10 days,” Cwikla said. “We ran between five days from the time of deposit and two weeks from the time of deposit.
Two years ago, Cwikla said repairs would have slowed down at this time of year.
“So that’s exploded as well. People who don’t buy new bikes are getting their old bikes out of their sheds, out of their garages, out of their basements,” he added. “We’ve resurrected older bikes, probably as much as we work on more modern products.”
As busy as her days have been, Moore said there were worse.
“I can’t really complain,” he said. “My business has been busy this whole time; it’s been great for my business.”
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